Sunday, March 29, 2009

Race Season Starts at Malabar

As expected Grimm was the first to attack and immediately with his power he was out of sight within minutes. With his all stud team mates I figured he was gone for the race. The race pace had fallen to a friendly club ride except up the climbs.

I also had Dan Quinlam, Tris, Batke and Tom Frueh in the 40 strong 1,2,3 field so I figured it was going to be up the other teams like Spin, Indiana Medical and Carbon Racing to make it a race. I took the opportunity to take off at one point and Cioccio, Thom Dominic and I started to open up a big gap. We were rolling down the flat section at a sustained and painful pace but Grimm actually pulled away from us.

Eventually RGF lined up 4 guys on the frnt of the main field and when they did that they closed the gap on us in short order. But like I was saying before you need ot make the race happen and Torelli last year and now combined with Elves and More as Carbon Racing are as aggressive as ever. So shortly after we came back Dan sent off the counter. That drew out Batke, Steve Cummings and RGF's Dan Campbell.

That shortly became the move of the race and as they disappeared I took a break in the back of the field. but what I forgot was Paul Martin was still in the field. And when he launched to bridge to assist his guys in the break I didnt see it. Tris saw it but was just a moment late to launch and that's all Paul needed to hold the gap.

The race pace had declined somewhat again, though a lot of guys were popping off on the climbs and steep rollers all race long. But I wanted to get some good training to get that "race fitness" so I told Tris I was going to start attacking. My first two attacks were pretty much lame. I easily can admit that. First race and all. Also a very BIG reason to start attacking as well was to break up the race. One thing I cannot stand is when the pace is slow enough that guys can hang on that could out sprint me in the end.

ON the 4th lap going down the flat the pace slowed so much we were all on our brakes. I ride past the jam-up at the front and launched as I passed Andy Clark and buried it. I looked back after a minute and I had the gap. I was worried about the climb coming up, but I cleared it fine and kept up good cadence all the way over, stood and sprinted down the hill.

When I finally looked back and could see some guys chasing I was amazed to see it looked like half of the field I had left. So damage done. And this is so typically me I guess, but I kept thinking as I was out there was how great of training this was for time trialing. I held a couple beats over threshold. I also told myself if this worked or didnt I was putting this effort in the bank for later.

I caught my team mate Dan up the last steep climb before descending to the 180 corner to the flat. I kept the pressure on the pedals, but when I hit the flat the wind which picked up a lot at the end was so strong that my speed was only 21 to 24mph instead of 24mph to 30mph where it had been the first time Thom, Chris and I attacked down the road.

Back in the field Thom was chasing on behalf of Spin and I suppose for a good workout as well. Finally after 9 flat out miles I was caught. With only about 2miles to the finish which was up the hill this year that was it for my attacks. Tris took a flyer and Jason Holloran tried a flyer to help Thom then Thom rolled off, but Inferno chased down most of those moves while they held good position for the finish. I to stayed in the front 5 or so trying to not have to come around too many guys on the lower part of the hill.

I followed Tris on the lower slopes, slipped by then Andy Moskal launched hard up the left with Marco and Jeff from Inferno in tow. I picked up my pace and a gap was opening, but for the most part I was holding on. But as soon as it pitched up around the right hand turn I tried to sprint and my thighs both started cramping so I sat down then 3 or 4 guys (including Tris and Thom) came around as I literally almost ground to a halt. I crossed the line in 14th trying to outsprint the guy in front, bt he saw me coming and he took off.

So not a bad finish considering my 9 mile TT effort on the last lap and being my first race. I have no idea where that effort came from, but I'll take it!! A lot of guys got popped and I felt comfy the whole race. Especially on the tough "grinders" in the back. Our team did its usual aggressive style of attacking and counters that established the races winning break. Brian did great to withstand the attacks of RGF to come in 5th place right with Cummings. RGF swept the podium with no less than the Tour of Ohio winner Campbell, uber sprinter Grimm and the Elite National Road champion!! Now that's some fast company to start the racing season.


Bill said...

Nice work Ray, your an animal!

Tony said...

Awesome job Ray! Good to see you!

Ray Huang said...

I honesty thought I was going to be OTB. I am relieved that my legs came around late in the race. That first climb was super thought yesterday wasnt it? Usually I struggle on the Grinders.

Thanks guys and good job to you two.

Ray Huang said...

thought=tough jeez..dumb much?

JimmyNick said...

Great work! And how do you feel today? (Sun.)

Ray Huang said...

I tried to do a hard workout (after seeing Monsters VS Aliens) and couldn't. I did a recovery ride instead. Maybe if I had ridden outside I would have had more motivation....Now where can we race this weekend? Thank you.